OceanSide church of Christ
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GOD’S LOVE PACKAGED AS A GIFT
Victor M. Eskew
A. I read a sign in front of a denominational church that said: “The first Christmas present came wrapped in swaddling clothes.”
1. First, I do not believe in the celebration of Christmas as a religious holiday. It is not authorized in God’s Word (Col. 3:17).
2. Second, what was wrapped in those swaddling clothes was definitely a gift from God (John 3:16).
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
B. Have you ever received a gift that served multiple purposes? (e.g., Swiss Army Knife)
C. The gift that God’s love has presented to us in the form of His Son is a multi-purpose gift. Let’s look at tome of the uses of this gift.
I. GOD CLOTHED IN FLESH
A. John’s prologue
1. John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2. John 1:14
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
B. Even our Lord’s name, Emmanuel, tells us who this gift is (Matt. 1:23).
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
C. God’s coming in flesh enabled Him to identify with us, human beings who are limited and tempted by the flesh. Because of this, He can function as our high priest (Heb. 2:17).
Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
1. The high priest was a go-between. He stood between God and man.
a. Under the Old Covenant, the high priest could have compassion upon the sinner. He knew what it was like to be human.
b. Jesus can function as our go-between. He knows what it is like to be human. The difference between Jesus and the OT high priest is that our High Priest has no sin (Heb. 4:15-16).
2. When we approach God, we have nothing to fear. Our merciful and faithful High Priest make reconciliation for our sins (Heb. 2:18).
For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.
II. A PERFECT EXAMPLE
A. When we are asked to do something, we love to have an example to follow (e.g., algebra problems, a sermon, a swing set).
B. We have been exhorted to live holy lives (I Pet. 1:13-16).
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation, because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
1. This is a tall task, is it not?
2. Fortunately, we do not have to do it without an example.
C. Jesus is our example.
1. I Peter 2:21
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow in his steps.
2. This example is a perfect example. Let’s look at two sides of this coin.
a. He has committed no sin (I Pet. 1:22).
Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.
b. He always did the things that pleased the Father (John 8:29).
And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
D. If we follow Jesus, we will never go wrong.
1. We should ask ourselves: “What would Jesus do?”
2. The answer, however, is not to be subjective on our part. Instead, we objectively view Him in the Word of God and come to our conclusion.
3. I John 2:6
He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
III. A LAMB FOR SACRIFICE
A. Under the Old Covenant, lambs were often used in sacrifice for sins (Lev. 4:32-35).
And if he brings a lamb for a sin offering, he shall bring it a female without blemish. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering…and the priest shall make atonement for his sins that he hath committed, and it shall be forgiven him.
B. Under the New Covenant, we have a Lamb that has been sacrificed for us. That Lamb is Jesus Christ.
1. Twice John the Baptist acknowledged Jesus as “the Lamb of God” (John 1:29, 36).
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
2. This Lamb had been predicted to come by the prophet Isaiah (Isa. 53:7; Acts 8:32, 35).
The place of the Scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth….Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
3. The blood of this Lamb is precious in that it truly redeems man from his sins (I Pet. 1:18-19).
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
C. This blood stands ready to forgive. It is for all, but one can only appropriate it by being “in Christ.”
1. Ephesians 1:7
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.
2. NOTE: We get into Christ by being baptized into Him (Gal. 3:27).
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
IV. A JUDGE
A. Another way the gift of God’s Son functions is as a judge.
1. John 5:22
For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.
2. Acts 17:31
Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
3. II Timothy 4:1
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom.
B. Some may wonder why we would refer to Jesus’ being a judge as a gift.
1. Many of us have a fear that develops within us when we think of standing before Jesus in judgment.
2. Judgment should be a gift to Christians.
a. It is the time when we will be declared just and innocent before God.
b. It is a time when our enemies and accusers will be rendered guilty before God.
c. Romans 2:6-11
Who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil; of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good; to the Jew first, and also the Gentile: for there is no respect of persons with God.
A. God has given His precious Son as a gift, a multi-purpose gift.
1. God clothed in flesh
2. A perfect example
3. A Lamb for a sacrifice
4. A judge
B. II Corinthians 9:15
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.